Liberal Resident Makes MLB Opening Day Roster
KSCB News - April 1, 2016 6:45 am
What was predicted all Spring Training was officially etched in stone on Tuesday as with their final cuts to their Opening Day, 25 Man Roster, the San Francisco Giants have picked former Seward County Saint and Liberal Bee Jay Kelby Tomlinson to serve as a backup infielder with the club when they head to Milwaukee to open up the 2016 season.
Tomlinson adds to his list of Seward County ‘firsts’ as he becomes the first Saint to make an Opening Day roster after becoming the first Seward County alumn to play in the big leagues last season. Tomlinson his .264 overall this spring, driving home four and stealing three bases. He finished the spring by picking up seven hits in his final five starts to secure his spot on the Giants big league roster.
Tomlinson shot through the Giants system last season, moving from AA to AAA and finally the big leagues in early August. Originally brought up to be a depth player for them, Tomlinson finished the season by seeing action in 45 of 46 games as his red hot bat forced future Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy to keep him in the lineup. Tomlinson ended the season hitting .303, ranking him 4th among all Major League Baseball rookies with at least 100 at bats. His rookie year highlights included a grand slam for his first Major League home run as well as a walk off hit one day later in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals. His final highlight came on the second to last day of the regular season when he showed off his blazing speed with an inside-the-park home run against the Colorado Rockies.
The former Saints All-American shortstop is expected to serve as the Giants primary backup at second base, shortstop, as well as third base this season. Many around Giants camp reveled in Tomlinson’s defensive prowess at shortstop this spring, not realizing that despite playing nearly flawless defense at second base during his call-up last season, Tomlinson is a natural shortstop that even won the NCAA Division I Gold Glove at short during his junior season at Texas Tech.
Of the honor of being named to the Giants 2016 Opening Day roster, Tomlinson said "It is something you dream of since you were a little kid and to have it actually happen is kind of surreal."
Tomlinson, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and the rest of the 2016 Giants will open up their campaign on the road at Milwaukee on Monday before returning home to take on the rival Dodgers at AT&T Park April 7-10. For fans in Southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, Tomlinson’s first trip to the Midwest will come on April 12th, 13th, and 14th, when the Giants take on the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.